brake horsepower

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the horsepower made available by an engine or turbine for driving machinery other than itself, as measured by a dynamometer.


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What is brake horsepower?

Brake horsepower is a measure of the power of an engine or turbine, often after additional components that lessen power have been factored in.

A common, but old, unit used to measure power is horsepower. One horsepower is equal to the work of a single horse, which could supposedly move 33,000 pounds 1 foot in 1 minute.

Brake horsepower is, in a manner of speaking, the horsepower that an engine is capable of when it’s actually in the machine that it will supply power to. This number is affected by friction and power losses to parts connected to the engine.

For the most part, brake horsepower is the measurement that car salespeople and auto magazines will use to brag about the power of a vehicle’s engine. The abbreviation of brake horsepower is bhp. Often, sellers will just use the term horsepower when referring to this measurement.

Why is brake horsepower important?

The first records of the term brake horsepower come from around 1887. Brake horsepower’s name comes from the method used to measure it. Brake horsepower is measured with a dynamometer, a mechanical brake that measures the force of the engine at different loads.

In the United States, the measurement of brake horsepower will be higher than when measured in other countries. The reason behind this is that American automakers measure brake horsepower without factoring in auxiliary parts, such as the gearbox, power-steering pump, and generator. Non-American automakers do factor in these other parts, so the brake horsepower measurement of non-American cars is often lower.

Did you know … ?

The horsepower that an engine is capable of without any outside factors affecting it is called indicated horsepower, abbreviated as ihp.

What are real-life examples of brake horsepower?

This image shows the equation used to calculate brake horsepower.

The average person is unlikely to know what brake horsepower is. This specific type of measurement is most familiar to engineers or auto enthusiasts.


What other words are related to brake horsepower?

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True or False?

Brake horsepower is a measurement that measures the power of brakes.

How to use brake horsepower in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for brake horsepower

brake horsepower

the rate at which an engine does work, expressed in horsepower. It is measured by the resistance of an applied brakeAbbreviation: bhp
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012